Automatic Exposure—Technical Metadata

This activity is now closed. The information on this page is provided for historical purposes only.

Objective: This RLG-led initiative advocated capturing standard technical metadata about digital images automatically, as part of image creation. The goals were to minimize the cost of acquiring this information and maximize its availability for preserving and maintaining access to images.

"Automatic Exposure" promoted the adoption of the emerging standard NISO Z39.87: Data Dictionary—Technical Metadata for Digital Still Images. Z39.87 defines a comprehensive set of data elements that are key to an institution's ability to manage and preserve its digital images. RLG engaged manufacturer-vendors of high-end scanners and digital cameras, as well as cultural heritage professionals, to determine how their devices could automatically capture Z39.97 elements for use in digital repositories and digital-asset management systems.


September 2005

The comment period for the revised version of NISO Z39.87 ended on August 26th, 2005 and the standard is now being balloted. As soon as the standard has been released in its final form, RLG will start discussing automated capture of technical metadata with manufacturers again.

RLG is working on an Adobe Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) panel. The panel would show users the Z39.87 metadata elements as part of the File Info dialog. It will show which values have been automatically harvested from the image by the XMP, and which values are missing. Furthermore, the panel will allow users to economically add values.

January 2005

Robin Dale and Günter Waibel published a review of harvesting technologies in RLG DigiNews, October 2004 contained an article about Automatic Exposure by Robin Dale and Günter Waibel, as well as a review of current harvesting technologies.

An interview with Günter and other attendees of the Rochester Institute of Technology conference in RLG TopShelf, October 2004 shows that the ideas of Automatic Exposure are well-received by the community, and increasingly also the industry. ( Please note: Archived versions of RLG Topshelf are available from the OCLC Corporate Library Collection in the OCLC Digital Archive. Choose the index and browse from here.)

On October 25 in Baltimore, MD, Robin Dale spoke at the Digital Library Federation's (DLF) Fall Forum, Session 8, "Managing Metadata." On November 12 Günter Waibel discussed Automatic Exposure at the Museum Computer Network (MCN) conference in Minneapolis, MN, and on December 7 he presented at the Coalition for Networked Information's (CNI) Task Force meeting Portland, OR.

August 2004

On September 8-9 in New York, NY, Robin Dale will present Automatic Exposure findings and seek technical metadata changes in International Imaging Industry Association (I3A) standards, speaking with members of the I3A Image Technology committee IT10. On September 22 in Rochester, NY, Günter Waibel will speak about the project during the American Museums Digital Imaging Survey Benchmarking Conference.

March 2004

On April 23 Günter Waibel presented a paper on the Automatic Exposure initiative at the Society for Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T) archiving conference in San Antonio, Texas. For a copy of this paper, please consult the conference proceedings or contact him directly.

February 2004

On November 5, 2003, RLG and the National Information Standards Organization convened a meeting in Las Vegas (in conjunction with the Museum Computer Network conference) to discuss a white paper from RLG on Automatic Exposure and to plan next steps. Representatives came from Adobe Systems, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Harvard University, Kirtas Technologies, Museum of Modern Art, Sinar Bron Imaging, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, and University of Calgary. (See meeting minutes and "XMP: Adding Intelligence to Media" [pdf] Presentation by Gunar Penikis, Adobe Systems Incorporated).

August 2003

In July, RLG program officers Robin Dale and Günter Waibel put out a widely distributed call for interest in working with camera and scanner vendors to make metadata capture automatic during digitizing. At the same time, they asked cultural heritage institutions about their existing technical metadata practices. Over 100 responses have demonstrated strong interest and provided information both for identifying stakeholders and for determining common metadata practices. Based on analysis of this information, we anticipate convening an invitational meeting of vendors and institution experts in November 2003.

For more information

Guenter Waibel, Program Officer